Monday, May 5, 2014

A volunteer story in the rain May 4, 2014

As I mentioned in my last post I was to volunteer for the Vancouver Marathon held yesterday May 4, 2014.

My job was a member of the bike patrol team - a position I have done for the past 8 years.

I was to patrol Zone 1 - the start of the race then over the Cambie Bridge through Yaletown and False Creek - riding back and forth to check on the runners - then later in the race to act as the sweep - ensure that the last person (s) make it to the finish.

That was the plan - it didn't work out quite as expected.

I also rain all day.

Here is the story of my day.

I worked the half-marathon course.

I awoke at 5 AM and took one look outside to see that my fears about the weather had materialized - it wasn't a light rain but a hard, pounding one and some wind as well.

I had put out a number of clothes the night before and opted to wear the following - one cotton long sleeve t-shirt, my Polyester bike jersey and my heavy Gore-tex jacket - long cotton pants and my Helly Hansen rain pants - two pairs of socks and my better light weight walking shoes.

I threw in some extra t-shirts etc into my pannier.

After a quick breakfast I cycle down to the Yaletown Canada Line station and join a good number of the runners taking the train to 25th Ave station and then bike the short distance to our meeting point near the start line at Hillcrest Park near Queen Elizabeth Park.

I pick up my radio and find my team mates and we then start to ride through our zone looking for any problems before the race starts.

I wasn't long before I noticed that at the corner of 23rd and Cambie the side street wasn't close off like the other streets - all the other streets in the area had large pylons and tape across the roadway - here only a road closed sign at the lane.

I radioed this in and was told to await the Marshall for that corner - well they never showed up - it was a problem throughout the day that some people just won't show up if it is raining.

So I was told to stay there and it was a good thing I was because a couple of cars wanted to cross Cambie with the race in session.

If there was one good thing about this for me it was that because I was standing at the corner I could stand there with my umbrella and keep somewhat dry.

The race finally start at 7AM and by 7:30AM the last of the waves had hit the street and shortly I saw the end SAG and maintenance trucks so it was time to get back on the bike and start riding and keeping track of the stragglers and it wasn't long before myself and another patroller were escorted an older gentlemen along the course but we had another problem - he didn't speak any English - only Spanish and wanted to talk to someone - well it turns out the person in the SAG vehicle spoke Spanish - all he wanted was to be sure he was running the half-marathon.

While a few other were near the end this gentlemen was the last person to cross the half-marathon finish line around 11:45AM.

I then turned in my radio and went to the volunteer food truck and picked up a lunch.

It had started to rain hard again - it never really stopped all day - so rather than eat out in the rain I rode the short distance up Hornby to my condo.

While my clothes were wet I was fairly dry - more sweat than water on my body . Quickly changed into dry clothes - ate lunch and then sat down and took the remainder of the afternoon to DE-compress.

Remarkably my cold of last week doesn't appear to be any worse.

All was not well with the team however - one long term member took a spill before the full marathon started and ended up breaking her wrist and will be in a cast for 6 weeks - GET WELL SOON, MAUREEN. and in a follow up email from our team coordinator three other members had minor spills - the roads were slick and many of the team members ride road bikes with skinny tires making for tougher riding conditions. That plus either trying to keep ahead of the lead runners or coming down the long UBC hill likely contributed to those mishaps.

I was a tiring yet satisfying day and HELL YES I WILL DO IT AGAIN NEXT YEAR.

In closing thanks to Vicki and Kerry for your dedication and commitment to ensuring that us bike patrollers got the job done.

We were all rewarded with a $10.00 White Spot gift card and those who picked up a lunch a $2.00 off Triple O's coupon.

Until next year cheers!

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